Magazine article The Spectator

Barometer

Magazine article The Spectator

Barometer

Article excerpt

Radical cheek Phil Woolas, the first MP for 99 years to have his election to Parliament overturned, has fewer supporters than the Radical MP John Wilkes, who managed to have his election overturned four times in the Middlesex election fiasco of 1768.

-Wilkes was first barred from the House of Commons in 1763 after going into exile in France to escape a second trial on a charge of seditious libel.

-He returned in 1768 to stand for election in Middlesex and won, but was then quickly imprisoned over a pornographic poem.

-Four by-elections followed, all won by Wilkes; three times the election was declared void and on the final occasion his opponent was declared the winner. A crowd of 15,000 of Wilkes's supporters gathered to protest, on which troops fired, killing seven.

-After a spell in jail, Wilkes was elected MP for Middlesex in 1774.

Engine trouble The engine of an Airbus A380 exploded over Indonesia, leading to a fall in RollsRoyce shares. The safety of jet engines has increased dramatically over the past 50 years. Average number of hours a jet engine could fly before it was liable to fail:

1965 2,500

1985 17,500

1990 55,000

1995 100,000

2000 140,000

2005 165,000

Source: Federal Aviation Authority

Poverty, culture and exams

It's a widespread assumption that pupils on free school meals - an indicator of poverty - do worse in exams. …

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